"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends."A character saves another/others from harm and is killed, crippled, or maimed as a result. A bad character who was once good can redeem themselves in the last act by Taking the Bullet that was meant for The Hero, thus expunging all their previous evil, avoiding forcing The Hero to arrest or confront him, and avoiding any real life penalties like disgrace and jail. This is like Redemption Equals Death. In this case, the death and redemption come in a single act. There are essentially three kinds of Heroic Sacrifice:
- The one at the beginning of the story, which sets the tone for the rest of the tale.
- The one in the middle of the story, wherein the Heroic Sacrifice leads to new heights of badassery, or new depths of depression, in the characters who are affected by it (depending on the story.) Sometimes both.
- The one at the end of the story which serves as a Grand Finale, an example of "This character is Too Cool to Live", or the kernel of a Downer Ending or Bittersweet Ending. The "Too Cool to Live" Heroic Sacrifice is the most common type in American movies. Often, The Hero Dies in a heroic sacrifice at the end.
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